Researchers at the centre for investigating healthy minds (CIHM) at Waisman Center of University of Wisconsin-Madison were particularly interested in Sudarshan Kriya - a practice of controlled breathing that directly affects the autonomic nervous system and its effect on reducing stress.

The CIHM study included 21 soldiers; an active group of 11 and a control group of 10. Those who received the one-week training in yogic breathing showed lower anxiety, reduced respiration rates and fewer PTSD symptoms.

"This was a preliminary attempt to begin to gather some information on whether this practice of yogic breathing actually reduces symptoms of PTSD," said Richard J Davidson, founder of CIHM.

Individuals with PTSD suffer from intrusive memories, heightened anxiety and personality changes.

The hallmark of the disorder is hyper arousal which can be defined as overreacting to innocuous stimuli.

"It may be an effective way to decrease suffering and, quite possibly, the incidence of suicide among veterans," researchers concluded.

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